Ceres, known fondly as the Eden of the Cape, is synonymous with fruit in all forms: fresh, sun-dried and juiced. Along with Tulbagh it makes up the north-western extreme of the popular Route 62. Ceres and its small neighbouring town of Prince Alfred Hamlet are nothing more than dots in the mosaic of fruit orchards that cloak the wide, sweeping valley in which they nestle.
Surrounding the valley are numerous mountain peaks and ridges; the higher reaches of which are often cloaked in snow during winter. So many mountains surround Ceres that visitors have to traverse one pass after another to reach the town. These include the Mitchell’s Pass that leads directly into the town’s main thoroughfare, the Gydo Pass with its panoramic views of the valley, and the Theronsberg Pass.
The town itself has a main street bustling with trucks, traffic and local shoppers. In contrast, the quiet back streets burrow beneath a canopy of oak trees that shade neat gardens. There’s plenty to keep busy with in the vicinity. Activities include scenic drives, hiking, mountain biking, 4x4 trails, fishing and birding. For something a little different there are tours of some fruit farms, and cherry picking on Klondyke farm from mid-November to the end of December.
Look out for
Transport Riders Museum – showcases the influence the transport riders had on the development of Ceres, with wagons and other relics from that era.
Fruit farm tours – with the abundance of fruit farms surrounding Ceres, tours of the orchards and packing facilities are popular. These can be booked through the tourism office.
Zipslide Adventures – for lovers of the adrenalin rush Ceres Zipslide Adventures offer 8 slides totalling 1.4km amongst the rock formations of the Skurweberg mountains near Ceres.
4x4 trails – there are 2 worthwhile trails in the vicinity. These are the Matroosberg Route in the Hex River Mountains, with the Kagga Kamma route in the Swartruggens range.
Snow and skiing – during the winter months the mountains around the town are often covered in snow. It’s a popular time to visit the region and activities at this time include skiing and snowboarding, albeit without the mechanised lifts of more formal ski stations.
Matroosberg Nature Reserve – situated 35km from Ceres, this offers hiking and mountain biking trails.
Scenic drives – with many backroads and scenic passes - like the Mitchell’s, Gydo and Katbakkies Passes – day drives are a good way to experience the varied scenery of the region.